Barefoot 5 (Pages 105-171)

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Poor Vicki. The chemo is finally playing havoc with her body.

She has no appetite or energy, is losing weight and her hair, and she feels really depressed. Her husband’s visits don’t help as she tries to be a wife for Ted, but somehow her disease is acting like an anaphrodisiac, making him impotent when they try to have sex. Ted just can’t help himself as he is afraid of hurting Vicki, and this makes Vicki even more miserable. That peaked as one morning she decides she won’t go to her chemo sessions. So Brenda asks Josh to talk to her, and Josh manages to get to her, telling her about her mother’s suicide.

Brenda’s problems have not finished. After finally talking to her lawyer, he tells her that the college are pushing for a whole lot of money after she damaged the valuable painting. We know that the painting was in the room where she taught, and she accidentally hit the picture with a thick book that she hurled at John Walsh, the student she was having the affair with, when they were arguing. These circumstances don’t seem to make much difference, and the figure that the lawyer gives her is in the region of hundred thousands of dollars, money that Brenda doesn’t own. She could ask her parents to help her, but she refuses to do so since she doesn’t want to lose face with them.

Brenda makes another mistake when she kisses Josh. It happens the morning when Vicki refuses to go to chemo, and when Josh agrees to talk to her, Brenda kisses her in on pulse. She realises her mistake when Josh steels his grasp, and she has to confess that she is love with someone else. Josh is clearly disappointed because she has a big crush on Brenda.

That kiss is going to create even more problems. Melanie, who was coming from a walk, sees them, and she gets extremely jealous. She admits to having a crush on Josh even though she is pregnant and ten years his senior. The relationship between Melanie and Brenda is tense to say the least, but I imagine this will make things even more difficult. Melanie silently keeps insulting Brenda, describing her as the kind of woman who goes after men no matter what. She goes as far as to think that the next man that she will go after is Ted, Vicki’s husband, and she is just waiting for her sister to die. I think Melanie is very unfair to Brenda, but I understand that after her experience with Peter, her husband, she has a very warped idea of relationships, and Brenda clearly fits the picture of the kind of woman who men would break a home for. I also understand that Brenda is not the easiest person to get on with. She is too focused on herself, but I think that she is doing a good job with her sister, who she admits to having had a stormy relationship with in the past. Brenda is really scared for Vicki, and I love the way she cares for her. Maybe Vicki can’t see it as she is too miserable to consider much else, but I think she should realise that Brenda is not the selfish person she always thought she was.

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